The Chicago Bears play host to the smoking hot Philadelphia Eagles this Sunday. And while Philly is somewhat banged up, Chicago is probably the healthiest team in the NFL. This match up is, without a doubt, one of the Bears' biggest games of the season.
The Eagles roll into Chicago with one of the fastest offenses in the league. Philly has two receivers with the ability to blow the top off of any defense, DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. They have an explosive running back in Shady McCoy, and - the icing on the cake - a quarterback who runs a 4.3, 40. This team will really be the ultimate challenge for Chicago's defense. The Eagles receivers however are not very physical. With Chicago's style of defense, the secondary should be able to destroy them, in the physicality aspect of the game. Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings need to make them regret trying to block, and set the tone early.
In the three career games as starting quarterback against the Bears, Michael Vick is 0-3. Brian Urlacher and company have played well against him. The Cover 2 defense is perfectly suited to stop something like what Vick brings to the table. While the Eagles' offense is known for their speed, the Bears will take the field with one of the fastest defenses in the league. From Julius Peppers to Danieal Manning, the Bears' speed will come from all over the place. Expect the Bears to play a lot of basic Cover 2 against Philly, with one player spying on Vick. The player who will be in charge of Vick will most likely be Urlacher or Peppers.
Keys To The Game
1. Force Vick to his right: When Vick is able to go to the left side of the pocket, he's absolutely deadly. The Eagles do a good job of setting up an, almost secondary, pocket to the left. The Bears have to force him to the right side. He wont throw as much down field when forced to his right.
2. Don't get beat deep: With the speed of the Eagles' offense, the Bears' safeties will need to have their best game of the season. If you blow the smallest assignment, the Eagles will take advantage. Jackson might be one of the best deep threat receivers in the game, and with Vicks' cannon arm, they have hooked up for some big plays.
3. Attack Michael Vick: While Vick has done a great job when pressured, the Bears need to bring the house against Vick. They need to make him think fast while he's in the pocket. This will hopefully help lead to turnovers. Vick has only committed one turnover this season, but Lovie Smith's defense expects to change that this Sunday.
4. When Vick is on the run, hit him hard: Vick does not slide... ever. When he's out running the ball, the Bears' defense needs to hit him as hard as they can and make him think twice about trying try to make a big gain on the ground.
5. Pick up the Eagles' blitzes: Philly will bring blitzes from all over the field. The Bears need to be able to recognize what's happening and adjust to it. The offensive line has struggled with corner blitzes all year, and I would expect Philly to send a lot of corner blitzes.
6. Continue offensive balance: The Bears' offensive balance the last 3 weeks has been close to 50/50. Jay Cutler has shown he's a threat to run the ball for big gains as well. In order to have success against Philly, Martz must keep this balanced attack coming, and continue to roll out Jay Cutler like he has done lately.
7. Control the clock: Last week against Miami, the Bears dominated the time of possession. In order to help the defense neutralize Mike Vick, Cutler and the boys need to keep Vick off the field by controlling the ball on offense.
Bear down Bears fans, enjoy your football Sunday!
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